On Thursday the 23rd of June Stephen McPartland, Stevenage’s MP joined Dr Nathalie Pettorelli and her team of researchers from The Zoological Society of London on a visit to Marriotts School. This is the second visit made by Dr. Pettorelli’s team who are working with the school on a joint research project funded by the prestigious Royal Society.

Paul George, a biology teacher at Marriotts School approached Dr. Nathalie Pettorelli, a research Scientist based at the Zoological Society of London who specialises in Ecological Biology to develop a project that was relevant to the school curriculum and had implications for Stevenage as a whole.

The project is based on the idea that whilst there is mounting evidence that extinctions are altering the Earth’s ecosystems, to date it remains unclear how this effect compares to environmental change in urban areas like Stevenage.

This interdisciplinary project combines ecological data, gathered by Year 12 Biology A level and Year 10 GCSE students of Marriotts School, from 10 independent woodland areas around the town. This will then be combined with satellite data gathered by the research Scientists in order to consider how species loss can lead to changes in the woodland spaces around Stevenage.

The project offers Marriotts science students the chance to work alongside internationally recognised specialists to do real-world-science, to explore what it means to be a Scientist and to be inspired to pursue careers in Science.

Stephen McPartland states “It was wonderful to see the Royal Society and Zoological Society of London working together with Marriotts School to inspire pupils about Science. Stevenage has thousands of scientists and engineers based in our area and there are great career opportunities for those interested in Science. I am so proud of the passion the staff at Marriotts have to inspire their pupils and it was a privilege to see everyone working together on such an exciting topic.”